Sweet possession, p.25
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       Sweet Possession, p.25

         Part #5 of Sweet series by Maya Banks
Page 25


  Yep. A simple little swim would be fun. And she hadn’t had fun in a damn long time. Not until she’d met Connor and his friends and allowed herself to relax and truly enjoy the company of others. She liked it. Liked it a hell of a lot.

  She didn’t bother searching her stuff for a suit. She didn’t have one. She stripped down until she was bare-assed naked and then threw on a robe and tied the ends for her trip down the stairs.

  Connor had told her to enjoy herself. She planned to take him up on it.

  “You realize we’re going to get totally busted for this,” Julie said as Sam rolled to a stop at the gates of the house Lyric was staying in.

  Serena waved a dismissive hand as Sam rolled down the window to address the guard. “What are they going to do, shoot us?”

  “Maybe,” Faith murmured as she surveyed the automatic slung over the guard’s shoulder.

  “We are here to see Ms. Jones,” Sam said in his somber voice.

  “Sorry, sir. No one gets onto the premises without direct authorization. ”

  Angelina’s eyes widened. Direct authorization? she mouthed.

  “Let me take care of this. Lyric gave me her cell number,” Julie said as she yanked out her cell. She held up a finger through the window to the guard.

  She punched in Lyric’s number and waited as it rang.

  “I could just call Connor,” Faith offered.

  Julie snorted. “And let him get all pissy with us for coming without his permission? Oh, hi, Lyric, it’s Julie Tucker. ” She held up a finger to silence the other girls. “I’m good. Hey, what are you doing right now? Swimming? Oh that sounds fun. Uh yeah, we’re kind of here at your front gates only the dude with the gun won’t let us in without proper authorization. Think you could help us out with that?”

  Julie’s face split into a grin. “Yeah, sure. ”

  She closed the phone and leaned over the front seat to look out at the guard. “Ms. Jones will be calling you shortly. ”

  On cue, the guard reached for his phone and sent a glare into the car.

  “Ms. Jones,” he greeted. “Yes, there are four women here to see you. ” There was a pause. “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Perhaps it would be better if I were to speak to Mr. Malone or Mr. Murphy. ” He winced. “Yes, of course, I understand Mr. Malone and Mr. Murphy are in an important meeting. No, ma’am, I understand. Yes, of course. I’ll let them in immediately. ”

  “That’s our girl,” Serena said with a grin.

  The gate swung open and the guard motioned them in, though he looked less than happy to be doing so. Sam drove the car up the drive and parked in front.

  “Lyric said for us to come around to the pool,” Julie said as they all piled out. “You going to make it, Angelina?”

  Angelina shot her a glare as Sam helped her from the car. “I’m not that huge. ”

  “Yet,” Julie said with a grin.

  “I’m so going to drown you,” Angelina muttered.

  “I feel it best if I accompany you ladies,” Sam said stiffly.

  Serena patted his arm. “Of course, Sam. You can keep us safe from all the guys with guns. ”

  He pinched his lips together. “I still don’t think this was a good idea. Mr. Roche will be most displeased if I allow any harm to come to you. ”

  “Mr. Roche does not have to know of all my comings and goings,” Serena said dryly.

  Two guards appeared, both armed, and they glanced warily at the women. Julie couldn’t say she entirely blamed them. Women were probably scarier creatures than a whole horde of men with knives and guns.

  “Can you direct us to the pool?” Julie asked airily.

  “They won’t really shoot us, will they?” Faith whispered as they started forward.

  “I’ll pretend I’m in labor if they do any funny stuff,” Angelina said in a low voice. “Pregnant women always scare the shit out of men. ”

  Sam hovered protectively over the women as they traipsed around the side of the house. He shot scowls at the men who flanked them. It was pretty funny because Julie’s money was on Sam in a throwdown. He might come across as all starchy and straitlaced, but he was a big son of a bitch and he got growly when it came to “his” women.

  As soon as the gate to the pool was opened, they saw Lyric pressed against the side of the pool, staring expectantly in their direction. She lifted an arm to wave, and it was then Julie realized Lyric didn’t have a stitch of clothing on.

  She started laughing. The others stared at Julie and then back at Lyric, and Faith’s mouth formed an O.

  “Hey!” Lyric called. “Gosh, I’m so glad to see you guys. How on earth did you manage it? I’m practically kept prisoner here, with no visitation, I might add. ”

  “We’re on the lam today,” Faith said.

  Serena burst out laughing. “Lam? Faith, you crack me up sometimes. ”

  “Well, the men don’t know where we are. We’re supposed to be ‘shopping. ’ They’d probably have a kitten if they knew we’d come over here. But honestly, what do they think is going to happen? We have Sam, and Lyric has guys hanging from the tree branches with guns. ”

  Lyric chuckled. “I asked Connor if I could have you guys over and he gave me the spiel about how it wasn’t safe, blah blah, and he’s right, but I’m awfully glad to see you, and you’re already here, so there’s no reason for you to leave!”

  “Are we interrupting?” Angelina asked with a pointed glance in Lyric’s direction.

  Lyric glanced down and then back up at the women and grinned. “Oh no. Connor and Kane are mulling over background checks, criminal records and all that fun stuff, so I decided to take a swim. I figure Connor will pop a button when he sees I’m skinny-dipping. ”

  “In more ways than one,” Julie muttered.

  “Why don’t you guys come in? The water’s great. I’ll have the chef make us something yummy. I’ll have drinks made. Whatever you guys want. ”

  Julie glanced at the other women. “We didn’t exactly come prepared to swim, and it’s cold out today! Aren’t you freezing?”

  Lyric arched an eyebrow. “So? The pool is heated and you don’t need a suit. ”

  “A swim would feel really nice,” Angelina said with a sigh.

  “We can fire up the hot tub later if you find the water too cold,” Lyric offered.

  Faith frowned. “But not too hot. It isn’t good for Angelina. ”

  “So strip and get in,” Lyric said.

  Sam cleared his throat. “Perhaps I should relay your wishes to the chef and make myself available inside. ”

  Serena laughed. “Good idea, Sam. ” She turned to the other women. “Well? Are we up to being totally daring?”

  “Or are you chiiickennn,” Lyric taunted.

  “Oh hell no, you did not call me chicken,” Julie muttered.

  Lyric pushed off from the side of the pool and swam backward to the center of the pool. “Last one in doesn’t get the really yummy cupcakes the chef baked. ”

  “Chef? Cupcakes?” Faith shook her head. “I must be doing something wrong. ”

  “I want that cupcake,” Angelina said as she started pulling at her pants.

  Laughter and shrieks hit the air as the women all started shucking out of their clothes. Shirts and pants flew through the air and soon it looked like an orgy had taken place on the patio as clothes hung from every chair, were strewn on the ground, and panties and bras hung from the bushes lining the walkway.

  Soon they were all in the water, and for Lyric, what she’d thought was an absolutely perfect day had just gotten better.

  “Did you swear Sam to secrecy?” Angelina asked Serena. “I really don’t want the guys to come barging in and ruin our girly day. ”

  “I can have one of the guards shoot them,” Lyric said calmly. She swam to the side of the pool and looped her arms along the concrete to hold herself up as she kicked her feet below the surface.

bsp; “They won’t wonder where we are for a few hours yet,” Serena said confidently. “They were all so relieved that he was stuck taking us shopping that they won’t even think to look for us. ”

  “Except Damon, who loves to shop for you,” Faith said smugly.

  Serena shrugged. “What can I say? The man has better taste in clothing than I do. ”

  Lyric eyed the intricate gold band on Serena’s upper arm and remembered Damon’s possessive caress and the way he touched her there often.

  “So how have you been, Lyric?” Angelina asked. “Is Connor still being mean to you?”

  Lyric felt heat rush into her cheeks. The other women obviously noticed it too because their eyes sharpened like vultures going after road kill.

  “Ohhh,” Faith said.

  “Okay, spill!” Julie demanded. “Oh my God, Serena and I have been dying to know all about Mr. Stick Up His Ass. I’ll admit to him firing more than a few girly fantasies. ”

  Faith clamped her hands over her ears and promptly fell underwater. She came up sputtering and holding her hand out. “Oh please. No. He’s my brother, for God’s sake. I don’t want to hear this!”

  Angelina rolled her eyes. “Your brother is hot, Faith. Deal. ”

  “He isn’t mean,” Lyric defended. “He’s been very . . . ”

  “Uh-huh,” Serena said knowingly. “Very good? Very sexy?”

  Lyric laughed. “Well, yes and yes. ”

  Julie grinned. “Oh this is great. I love it. Connor Malone has met his match. ”

  “I wouldn’t go that far,” Lyric said carefully.

  “Oh crap, men alert,” Faith said as she ducked farther underneath the water.

  Lyric looked up to see the chef and one of his assistants carry out a platter of hors d’oeuvres.

  “Oh stop it, Faith. You’re freaking gorgeous. Let them look and lust over what they’ll never have,” Julie said cheekily.

  “You guys are so never telling Gray about this,” Faith squeaked. “He’ll kick my ass. ”

  The chef cleared his throat and did his best to avert his gaze, though Lyric could see him totally sneaking glances.

  “I would be happy to provide drinks for you ladies. I have a fully stocked liquor cabinet, and one of my assistants is a trained bartender. ”

  “Ohhh, Lyric. You have all the good stuff,” Julie sighed.

  Lyric grinned. “Well, order up. I’ve never tried drunk swimming before. Maybe we should see if any of the security team is a trained lifeguard?”

  “Not a bad idea,” Faith said.

  “Ask Sam to come out,” Serena said to the chef. “What?” she asked when the other women looked at her. “He’s seen me naked before. Hello? Damon keeps me naked pretty much twenty-four/seven when we’re at home. ”

  “Do I even want to know?” Lyric asked.

  “Oh we’ll fill you in on Serena’s lifestyle after a few drinks,” Angelina said.

  Serena turned and lifted an imperious brow in Angelina’s direction. “And yours?”

  Angelina flushed but laughed good-naturedly. “Okay, maybe not. ”

  “There I go, feeling frighteningly boring again,” Lyric said. “You guys are killing me with all these interesting comments. ”

  “I’m the only normal slash sane one in this group,” Julie said.

  Julie was immediately swamped with waves of water as Faith, Angelina and Serena all drenched her.

  “Drinks, ladies?” the chef reminded.

  “Oh yeah, forgot,” Lyric said. And now that the chef and his wide-eyed assistant had gotten quite the show . . .

  “Hmm, why don’t you surprise us?” Serena suggested. “Make us some yummy, fruity cocktails with the cute little umbrellas. We can stage our own little beach getaway here at the pool. ”

  The chef nodded, then turned and had to nudge his assistant to get him to snap his attention away from the women.

  Angelina grabbed on to one of the floaties and rested her chin atop it as she floated lazily in the deep end. “This is so nice. I feel like a walrus, mind you, but man, this feels wonderful. ”

  “I’m so glad you all came,” Lyric said. “This has been such a great day and now it’s only better. ”

  “Oh? Do tell,” Julie prompted.

  Lyric grinned and she reached for one of the floats lying on the side of the pool, then propelled herself along the surface of the water so that she floated close to Angelina.

  “I fired my manager. ”

  “Whoa. Really?” Faith asked.

  Lyric nodded. “Yep. Thanks to Connor. ”

  “Wow, we obviously need deets here,” Julie said.

  “I’ll tell you all about it. Over drinks,” she said smugly.


  Connor pinched the bridge of his nose and put down the last report in his stack. He checked his watch. He and Kane had been sequestered for the entire afternoon. They’d crawled through the lives of every single person even remotely attached to Lyric or her tour.

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